San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#051--November 16, 1999; FOR IMMED IATE RELEASE
Contact: John Kroll
phone: 415/338-1665

San Francisco State Will Honor 11 Distinguished Alumni
at its Centennial Gala, December 2

Honorees include Annette Bening, Willie Brown, John Burton, Yvonne Cagel, Ernest Gaines,
Danny Glover, George Marcus, Johnny Mathis, Janice Mirikitani, Kent Nagano and Ronnie Schell

SAN FRANCISCO, November 16, 1999 ---At the final event celebrating its 100th anniversary, San Francisco State University will honor 11 outstanding living alumni at its Centennial Gala on Thursday, December 2, in the Rotunda of City Hall. In addition, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and actress Annette Bening will receive the President's Medal from SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan.

The 11 Distinguished Centennial Alumni, selected for their significant contributions to their fields and representing the University's 11 decades of service, include:

  • Annette Bening '80, the Academy Award-nominated film actress (American Beauty, The Grifters) and Tony-nominated stage actress (Coastal Disturbances);

  • Willie L. Brown Jr. '55, San Francisco's current mayor and a 16-term member of the California Assembly;

  • John Burton '54, the current president pro tempore of the California State Senate and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives;

  • Yvonne Cagle '81, one of four African American women astronauts and a medical doctor at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston;

  • Ernest Gaines '57, the well-known author (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Lesson Before Dying) who has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a MacArthur Foundation grant;

  • Danny Glover (attended from 1967 to 1972), star of the Lethal Weapon movie series, nominated for the Emmy Award for Lonesome Dove, and an advocate for social causes such as literacy and family violence prevention;

  • George Marcus '65, the founder and chair of Marcus & Millichap Co., one of the nation's largest real estate investment brokerage firms, and a former trustee of the California State University and the CSU Foundation;

  • Johnny Mathis (attended from 1954 to 1957), whose singing career has spanned more than four decades and resulted in more than 60 gold and platinum albums;

  • Janice Mirikitani (graduate student in 1966), a city arts commissioner, the author of three books of poetry, the editor of eight anthologies, and the executive director of Glide Memorial Church;

  • Kent Nagano '76, the music director of France's Opera de Lyon and music director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, who has also been named an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France's second-highest civilian honor; and

  • Ronnie Schell '58, whose long career as a stand-up comedian has been supplemented by his regular appearances on several television comedy series ("Gomer Pyle," "That Girl") and who will serve as the event's master of ceremonies.

    "We take great delight in the accomplishments of these men and women, but their achievements do not diminish our pride in the more than 190,000 other alumni whose names may not be widely familiar but who have made important contributions to their communities, professions, and families," said President Corrigan.

    The President's Medal being awarded to Senator Feinstein is the highest honor a California State University president can bestow on his or her own. It recognizes both her exemplary career and service to SFSU.

    President and Mrs. Corrigan are hosts for the gala. Mrs. Martha Hertelendy is the event chair. Ms. Bening and Mayor Brown are honorary chairs.

    The honorary committee includes Nancy Jarvis and Stephen Farrand, Ruth Felt, Mrs. A. Barlow Ferguson, Sherri Ferris, Mr. and Mrs. Clement Galante, Richard Goldman, Louis Heilbron, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hertelendy, Mr. and Mrs. James Ho, Mr. and Mrs. John Jacobs, David and P.J. Jamison, Congressman and Mrs. Tom Lantos, Mr. and Mrs. George Marcus, Amy McCombs, Dr. Nancy McDermid, Sue Meyer, Margaret Norton, Robert and Sue Ohrenschall, Mr. and Mrs. Don W. Scoble, Dr. A. Jess Shenson, Mr. and Mrs. L. Jay Tenen baum, Norma Urcuyo-Siani and Albert W. Alston Jr., Dr. and Mrs. Gerald West, and Zeppelin Wong.

    The SFSU centennial celebration, commemorating the institution's founding in 1899 as the first state normal school, began this past March with a Founders' Week party featuring a 100-foot cake. The week culminated with the groundbreaking for a new, 760-bed student residence and services complex named the Village at Centennial Square.

    A special hundred-year commencement ceremony, a series of lectures showcasing aspects of SFSU history, and performances and exhibits have also marked the centennial celebration.

    Today, SFSU has approximately 27,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. More than 70 percent of its undergraduates are members of ethnic minorities; almost 60 percent are women. Its faculty members include biologist Tom Smith, an authority on rainforest biodiversity; Frances Mayes, the best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun; and Ralf Hotchkiss, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant for his international wheelchair design programs.


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